ON THIS DATE (23 YEARS AGO)
May 2, 1989 – Neneh Cherry: Raw Like Sushi is released.
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 4.5/5
# allmusic 4.5/5
Raw Like Sushi is the debut album by Neneh Cherry, released May 2, 1989 on Virgin Records.
An early version of “Buffalo Stance” appeared on the B-side of the Morgan McVey single “Looking Good Diving”. The single was not successful; however the B-side was re-recorded with Tim Simenon of Bomb the Bass fame and “Buffalo Stance” was born, becoming a worldwide hit reaching #3 in the UK, #3 in the Billboard Hot 100 and even reached #1 for two weeks in the Netherlands. The album also contained the #8 US (and #20 UK) hit “Kisses on the Wind” and the #5 UK hit “Manchild” (did not chart in the US).
Although the Swedish-born Nenah Cherry-daughter of jazz trumpeter Don, older sister of singer/songwriter Eagle Eye-had spent the early ’80s as the singer in the UK avant-jazz-funk outfit Rip Rig and Panic and its offshoot Float Up CP, almost nobody had heard of her in the US before this 1988 solo debut. This made the album’s impact all the more impressive, as the powerful mix of hip-hop, jazz and pop seemed to come out of nowhere. The inescapable hit “Buffalo Stance,” built on samples from Malcolm McLaren’s “Buffalo Gals,” a solid bass groove and Cherry’s tough-girl vocals, is one of the finest pop singles of the late ’80s. The rest of the album ranges from the dreamy “Kisses on the Wind” to hard-edged funk. The lyrics on the album are sometimes autobiographical, talking about school years. They are also influenced by Neneh’s motherhood. Others speak of women allegedly trying to steal a man from another woman. Raw Like Sushi foreshadows the polyglot influences of Soul II Soul and, later, Massive Attack.
by Alex Henderson
Those arguing that the most individualistic R&B and dance music of the late ’80s and early to mid-’90s came out of Britain could point to Neneh Cherry’s unconventional Raw Like Sushi as a shining example. An unorthodox and brilliantly daring blend of R&B, rap, pop, and dance music, Sushi enjoyed little exposure on America’s conservative urban contemporary radio formats, but was a definite underground hit. Full of personality, the singer/rapper is as thought-provoking as she is witty and humorous when addressing relationships and taking aim at less-than-kosher behavior of males and females alike. Macho homeboys and Casanovas take a pounding on “So Here I Come” and the hit “Buffalo Stance,” while women who are shallow, cold-hearted, or materialistic get lambasted on “Phoney Ladies,” “Heart,” and “Inna City Mamma.” Cherry’s idealism comes through loud and clear on “The Next Generation,” a plea to take responsibility for one’s sexual actions and give children the respect and attention they deserve.
All tracks composed by Neneh Cherry and Booga Bear, except where indicated.
1. “Buffalo Stance” (Jamie J. Morgan, Booga Bear, Neneh Cherry, Phillip Ramacon) 5:42
2. “Manchild” (Booga Bear, Neneh Cherry, Robert “3D” Del Naja)
3. “Kisses on the Wind” 3:57
4. “Inna City Mama” (Booga Bear, Neneh Cherry, Phil Chill)
5. “The Next Generation” 5:04
6. “Love Ghetto” 4:27
7. “Heart” 5:08
8. “Phoney Ladies” 3:52
9. “Outré Risqué Locomotive” (Booga Bear, Neneh Cherry, Will Malone) 5:04
10. “So Here I Come” (Booga Bear, Neneh Cherry, Phil Chill)
11. “My Bitch” (Bonus track) 5:26
12. “Heart (It’s a Demo)” (Bonus track) 4:52
13. “Buffalo Stance (Sukka mix)” (Bonus track) 5:20
14. “Manchild (The Old School mix)” (Bonus track) 5:30